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Australian Croatian Soccer Tournament cancelled, hosting rights for 2021 announced

Pictured: Ivica Volarevic, John Didulica (North Geelong President and Chairman of Players Federation of Australia, Josip Skoko former Hajduk Split captain and Socceroo, Luke Pinjuh, Daniel Desa

23 May 2020 – The 46th Australian Croatian Soccer Tournament, which was due to take place in October in North Geelong, was cancelled last month and this week the hosting rights for next year’s tournament were announced.  

“Unfortunately, due to global COVID-19 pandemic, North Geelong Warriors’ Board have made the difficult decision, with the unanimous backing of the Savez Board, to cancel the 46th Croatian Soccer Tournament of Australia and New Zealand in 2020. The health and well-being of the participating players and all the tournament’s planned visitors remained both our and North Geelong’s top priority, whilst also keeping a very clear focus on how we combined would have been able to best facilitate the delivery of a safe and successful soccer tournament,” the club announced earlier. 

Following a Special General Meeting of all member clubs of the Croatian Soccer Association of Australia (CSAA) this week, it was announced that all member clubs voted unanimously to grant North Geelong Warriors FC hosting rights for next year’s (2021) Croatian Soccer Tournament of Australia & NZ to be held from Thursday the 30th of September 2021 to Sunday the 3rd of October 2021.

The Australia Croatian Soccer Tournament is among the largest community soccer tournaments in Australia, having been hosted in every Australian state since 1974 and holds the honour of being the oldest national soccer competition still running in Australia. 

This four-day event has evolved into a legitimate international event with guests and teams now extending beyond Australia and New Zealand and including teams from Germany, Canada, and the United States. 

History of North Geelong Warriors Football Club 

For over 50 years, North Geelong Warriors FC has serviced the Croatian Community of Geelong and, as Geelong’s pre-eminent soccer institution, played a fundamental civic role. The club was founded to connect the broader Croatian community with each other, to celebrate their heritage and to help each other settle into their new homeland. Today the club boasts 408 players of all ethnicities ranging from under 5’s to the National Premier League Division 2 senior side and includes 9 female teams of the total 35 NGWFC teams.

The Club has the following former players represent their respective countries: 

• Australia Francis Awaritefe – Australia national team (1993–1996)

• Australia Steve Horvat – Australia U17 (1987), Australia U20 (1989), Australia U23 (1996), Australia national team (1994–2002)

• Australia Josip Skoko – Australia U20 (1993–1995), Australia U23 (2000), Australia (1997– 2007). 

• Australia Adrian Cervinski – Australia U23 (1994)

• Croatia Joey Didulica – Croatia national team (2004–2006)

• Australia Matthew Spiranovic – Australia U17 (2004–2005), Australia U20 (2006), Australia U23 (2007–2008), Australia (since 2008).

• Australia Ante Cicak – Australia national team U20 (2007) 

A video about the tournament and the Croatian community in Australia below published by Optus.

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